Steve Jobs’ Superyacht Impounded Over Unpaid Bill

The 230-foot, Philippe Starck-desgined 'Venus' won’t be leaving Amsterdam anytime soon.

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Peter Dejong / Associated Press

Venus, Jobs' sleek, white superyacht commissioned before his death, sits at dock in the Netherlands on October 30, 2012.

Steve Jobs’ Dutch-built superyacht won’t be leaving its berth anytime soon. The ship, ordered by the late Apple founder shortly before his death and created by noted designer Philippe Starck has been impounded in a dispute between Starck and Jobs’ estate over unpaid bills.

Venus, as the 256-foot superyacht has been christened, cost approximately $131 million to build. Starck’s commission had initially been established as 6% of the cost to build the boat; though estimates put the original cost at almost $200 million, Jobs’ heirs claim the final cost was closer to $140 million. Starck is claiming that he is owed almost $4 million, based on the original estimates; since there was no formal agreement between the two men so the conflict is expected to settle out-of-court.

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Jobs reportedly asked Starck to build him a boat back in 2007, and approved the design at their second meeting. “Steve and I shared the same idea about the elegance of the minimal, the elegance of work well done,” Starck told the BBC.  “It is not like a lot of mega yachts showing the vulgarity of money. It’s a boat showing the elegance of intelligence.”

But by the time Jobs died on Oct. 5, the boat was still not yet completed. According to Walter Isaacson, Jobs’ biographer, the superyacht had become a pet project of the computer pioneer when he fell ill with pancreatic cancer. “I know that it’s possible I will die and leave [my wife] with a half-built boat,” Jobs told Isaacson, as reported by the Financial Times. “But I have to keep going on it. If I don’t, it’s an admission that I’m about to die.”

The boat was finished just weeks after Jobs’ death, on Oct. 28. Built by Feadship — the shipyard that also reportedly constructed the superyacht of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen — it featured a sleek, aluminum-hulled design and a bridge controlled by seven linked iMac personal computers.

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The boat was supposed to be delivered to Jobs’ family in California upon completion, but until a settlement is reached, Dutch newspaper Financieele Dagblad reports, Venus will remain tied up to Dutch docks. Starck reportedly hired a debt collection agency and received a summary legal order to keep the boat from leaving Amsterdam, and port workers have been instructed not to let the vessel depart.